Ricciardo aiming to impress ‘rock concert’ Melbourne crowd

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Daniel Ricciardo believes he can deliver a top-10 qualifying slot for the “rock concert” crowd at the Australian Grand Prix.

The RB driver was 11th in FP1 on the medium tyres before clocking 12th fastest in the second 60-minute session in Melbourne to put the car on the fringes of the top 10, with team-mate Yuki Tsunoda fifth and 10th, respectively.

A crowd of over 120,000 were present at the circuit for the Friday running, which also featured F2 and F3 practice and qualifying as well as Australian V8 Supercars.

Ricciardo, who has a best [legal] finish of fourth at Albert Park, feels a top-10 berth on the grid is possible with some fine-tuning of the package.

“The morning started off pretty good, was on the front foot, and in the afternoon, others probably found a little more, but I think we’re still definitely in with a shot of Q3,” Ricciardo explained.

“The grip is pretty good, there are a lot of corners where because it is a street circuit, you do put it on the edge, and obviously you saw [Alex] Albon have the accident in FP1.

“It is just due to track characteristics, but the conditions and grip were pretty good and it was fun to get stuck into it.

“There is a little bit of work to do tonight, but nothing too crazy, there’s a bit I can improve and a bit of fine-tuning with the car and it should give us a good chance.

“Let’s qualify in the top 10, and it will get easier from there.”

Reflecting on the atmosphere around the circuit, in particular, given the partisan nature of the crowd, Ricciardo added: “For myself, Oscar [Piastri] and Valtteri [Bottas, who has adopted Australia as a second home], it’s emotional, the fan forum was crazy, it was a crowd you’d get at a rock concert or something.

“There were so many people here for just a practice day. Albert Park and the Australian Grand Prix have always done a good job with keeping it full all day.

“You come to watch on a Friday, and it is not just F1, you’re seeing V8s, Porsches or F2 and F3 and it is a lot, and Australian motorsport is strong – and it is reaching areas like Valtteri in Finland!”

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